Mu Space and Advanced Technology, a Thailand-based satellite and space tech firm, aims to raise up to US$25 million (779 million baht) in its Series B funding round, expected to wrap up by the end of this year, which could elevate the company's valuation to more than $100 million.
State telecom enterprise TOT said it would invest 100 million baht in the round after it clinched a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreement for collaboration with Mu Space in September this year.
James Yenbamroong, chief executive and founder of Mu Space, said the money raised will be used to build a medium-sized smart factory to develop space technology, including satellites, automation systems and robots.
The smart factory will be located in the Eastern Economic Corridor. Construction will begin in the second quarter of next year.
The innovations developed at the factory will be put in service in the future and are expected to boost investment and generate thousands of highly paid jobs to meet demand in the fast-growing space technology industry, Mr James said.
The funding would also be spent on the development of a high-throughput satellite, the latest version of broadband internet satellites. The majority of its components will be developed by Mu Space's engineers.
The satellite, which has the capacity to provide a data transfer rate of 32.5 gigabits per second, will be deployed to provide commercial broadband internet services in Thailand and Asia-Pacific. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
Ten enterprise customers have expressed interest in renting the satellite's transponders.
Mu Space was founded in 2017 with registered capital of 105 million baht.
Mr James said the valuation of the company will reach more than $100 million after Series B funding, while the number of the company's investors could rise from nine to more than 20.
Each investor in the Series B funding round, which started in early October, will have its investment capped at $5 million, he said.
Of $25 million raised, $20 million will be used for further investment and the rest for related asset spending.
The company aims to seek Series C funding in the second quarter of 2021, hoping to raise up to 3 billion baht.
Mr James said Mu Space plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand within the next five years. The valuation of the company by that time must be more than $2 billion or 60 billion baht.
Mr James also holds a 100% stake in US-registered Mu Space LLC, a space manufacturing company.
He said Mu Space made the MoU deal with TOT to explore satellite business opportunities, especially in ground station development, gateway systems, data centre constellations and digital platforms for space tech in connection with low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
Through the collaboration, the company sent a server payload on Blue Origin's rocket, which was launched into space from Texas. The server payload's components encompassed a web server, an IoT platform and big data devices.
The partnership with TOT, Mr James said, is a strategic move: each party has its own unique business strength that could drive innovation under the space internet data centre (IDC) concept.
LEO satellites could help expand signal transmission in remote areas where telecom infrastructure installation is difficult.
In the next phase, the two parties plan to test for space IDC and the intersatellite link through technology called space lasers.
New satellite gateway facilities are also needed in Buri Ram and Chon Buri provinces to handle multi-orbit and LEO satellites.